Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Little Accomplishments

We're having one of those weeks.

Have you ever heard the term "frenemy"? It means someone who is both a friend and an enemy at the same time. We have a new "frenemy" in our house... Bubbles the Fish.

I'm not sure who decided that medical equipment should be cute, but Bubbles is the name of the face mask for our new nebulizer. Now that's something I never expected to have to purchase! But alas, last week Grace came down very hard with a respiratory infection and we were perscribed an inhaled medication. Do you know how hard it is to hold down a not-still-ever 9 month old for the 10 minutes it takes to inhale her medication, 4-5 times a day? We both nap afterwards. But I do have to say, Bubbles works. It may be sheer terror to use, but it works. She's bouncing back to health nicely.

My little blanket hoarder. She's got three underneath there. I bought multiples when I was expecting, and thankfully, she hasn't noticed yet that the other sides are different colors. And also, how come every baby sleeps with their tush up in the air? It makes for cute pictures, but it doesn't look comfy to me!

Due to the necessary chaos that comes with having a sicky, not much has gotten done. I've got a knit dress all fit and cut, ready to whip together. I got new waterproof fabric for a stack of cloth diapers. Still working away at Grace's baby quilt and my overly ambitious knit afghan that was supposed to be a wedding present in November. I did break through the overwhelming to-do list to finally dress Grace's dolly, though! The poor thing came with a diaper that didn't fit and a dress that was both ugly and ill-fitting. She's appropriately attired now in soft cotton flannel :)

Some weeks, it's the little things that count :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

January's Jacket

I've accomplished my first challenge for 12 in 2012! My plan was/still is to make one garment for my every day wardrobe each month. Each has to be wearable, correctly fitted, and NOT made out of quilter's cotton. It's a bit intimidating... but totally worth doing. I'm noticing that each of my projects requires developing different sewing skills as I go along.

This is so not the best picture of me (my photographer had to get to work), but alas: January's Jacket!

I made it out of a soft tweed I found at Joann's over a year ago that has been sitting around waiting for inspiration. You can't see in this photograph, but there is a thin strand of silver metallic thread in the weave as well. This jacket really turned out well (the picture lies). I wore it to a meeting this morning for the first time - yes, I'm running a bit behind. I'm thinking it will be even better over dark trouser cut jeans (which I don't currently own).

Skills learned/practiced: Cutting into non-cotton fabric! I also had to pay much more attention to grainlines than I usually do since this fabric would show a crooked cut very badly. Overall I'm pleased and ready to tackle my next challenge: a knit dress!

This is from Simplicity 2652 if anyone wanted to know.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Not-Beef Ground Beef

We're on a health-kick here, and I think we might stay this way... I promise I haven't gone nuts!

For the past couple years, Shaune and I have skipped meat for a week or so at a time, in the interest of trying out new veggie and grain based recipes. It's never lasted more than a week. So far in 2012 though, we're on our 4th week of "part time vegetarianism." We're still eating meat on the weekends. But all week, it's a medley of veggie goodness.

One of the things we're working on adding is more whole grains. A personal favorite is called quiona. It's an ancient grain, a super food, one of the most complete proteins available in a plant, and downright tasty when cooked right (It's also terrible when cooked wrong but that's a different story). Quinoa is awful healthy, too. It has an interesting chewy texture that reminds me a lot of ground beef. So lately, we've been subbing it in to our favorite ground beef recipes.

Quinoa Meat Substitute:

Saute one diced red onion in a pat of butter. While that cooks, RINSE THE QUINOA (about 1 cup)! This is critical because it is coated with something called saponin, which tastes yucky. Once rinsed, add it to the onions, then top off with water (2 cups ish, just like rice). Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for about 15 minutes. You'll see the little white tails starting to separate. Sidenote: most packages say to cook for 30min. This is way too long and will result in mush rather than bliss. You'll know it's done by tasting a few grains - they should "pop" in your mouth. Underdone quinoa has a firm center.

Although it has an excellent taste and texture as is, we like to build from there - black beans are our favorite stir-in. I make up a batch of beans in the crock pot once a week and toss it into meals as I go so I can't tell you how many that is. Probably about a can's worth if you use them (rather than cooking from dry). We mostly use it in Mexican recipes. Just stir in a little taco seasoning and some water to the mixture. Not too much water! Simmer it together just for a couple minutes but not so long the quinoa gets mushy. I use that on nachos, in tacos, and tonight as filling for enchiladas. It's Shaune's favorite meal!

I'd love to hear from you! What fun grains and veggies have you discovered lately?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

World Nutella Day

Who knew there was such a fantastic celebration?!

For those of you who don't know, Nutella is a European concoction of bliss. Hazelnut butter + chocolate blended together to create a spread of epic deliciousness. When I was in France in middle school, we would enjoy Nutella slathered on slices of crusty bread with our tea. There was a layer of nutella in Shaune's and my wedding cake. It's my guilty pleasure by spoon in the dark of the kitchen when insomnia hits.

Being the Nutella junky that I am, when I saw this holiday (on Pinterest, the eater of all free time) last week I had to add it to my calendar. As a happy bonus, it lands tomorrow, 2/5, which for sports nuts out there is also known as Super Bowl Sunday - or, the only football game I'm likely to watch in a calendar year. Since we're attending a party, my contribution is a loaf of that lovely bread you see above. No, that isn't my loaf. Mine clung to the pan and kind of looks funny. Definately not picture-worthy. But the crumbs are delicious! You can find the recipe (and orginal pictures for credit sake) here. And, if you're a nerd and want in on the fun, here's their facebook page.

Whether you're a nutella fan or not, or a football fan or not, I pray your weekend is full of happy goodness in whatever form you find it in :) Many blessings!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Blessing

I want to take a minute to shamelessly brag on my husband. He's a keeper :) And, as of today, he's THIRTY! Isn't that officially "over-the-hill"? Of course, the definition of that keeps changing the closer I get to it... when I was little the 16 year olds seemed SOOO old. Then 20... then 30... now I'm looking at my parents and going, "50 certainly doesn't seem old!" It's all a matter of perspective. But I digress. Shaune's THIRTY!

I can't imagine my life without this man. He is such a blessing to me.

He makes me laugh...

He has a heart for missions (and even took me to Liberia!)

He's the best Daddy I could hope to parent with...

Even to the point of cuddling sick babies!

Happy Birthday, Love! You're such a blessing to me, and I wouldn't have our life any other way. (but yes, you are still old haha!)